Daily iPad App: Triple Town

Triple Town was originally a Facebook game, so it does have some weird freemium elements that are kind of annoying: There are some weird turn mechanics where you actually need to "buy" turns, either with in-game gold or real money, that can get annoying after a while. And the graphics themselves do look as though they were created with HTML 5 -- they're serviceable, but the game definitely doesn't take advantage of all of the power of your iOS device.

All of that said, however, Triple Town still comes with this sparkling recommendation: I first fired it up late one night last week before going to bed at 3 am, and found myself still playing it two hours later. It is a really incredible take on the match-3 genre: instead of switching items around, you instead place them down on the board, and then three of any kind (in any direction) will automatically combine into one of the next kind up the hierarchy, so grass combines into bushes which combines into trees, then houses, and so on. Bears appear on the screen and need to be blocked out into tombstones, which then combine into churches, which combine into larger churches which can earn extra points.

The game is turn-based and simple to play, but very tough to master, and it has that extremely addictive "just one more turn" quality. Triple Town is really a great title -- it doesn't quite outgrow its Facebook roots, but there's more than enough game here that it's definitely worth the free, universal download. Just be careful starting it up late at night -- you might find yourself losing as much sleep as I did.